As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. 8 The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar were saying, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” 9 Some said, “It is he.” Others said, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” 10 So they said to him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” 12 They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.” 13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. 14 Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. 15 So the Pharisees again asked him how he had received his sight. And he said to them, “He put mud on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them. 17 So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him, since he has opened your eyes?” He said, “He is a prophet.” 18 The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight, until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight 19 and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” 20 His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. 21 But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” 22 (His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.) 23 Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” 24 So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” 25 He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” 26 They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” 28 And they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. 29 We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. 32 Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were born in utter sin, and would you teach us?” And they cast him out. 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.
There’s a lot going on in this story, and we are in no way going to be able to break it all down in this one session. However, I would like to point out two distinct ideas. The religious leaders of this day had a problem with what was really happening. The miracle was displayed for them to see. There was no denying what Jesus had done. They knew the man before and after he was healed. This was not just some “back pain” to manipulate and say, “Oh, He healed me!” No. This was an obvious manifestation of the presence of God and a display of power that could not be denied. However, the religious crowd could and would not accept it as truth because it did not fit into their agenda—their God-shaped box.
Think about how often we do the same thing. We set up these parameters on God and what “we know.” We never really look deep into scripture and allow the truth of God’s word to change us or allow Him to use us. God has called us to be co-laborers with Him on this earth. He is already working and moving on this earth in the lives of people all around us. In that process, He has not only asked us to join in, He has already prepared good works for us to walk in them.
You see, the religious leaders could not accept truth, even when truth was staring them in the face. Much like that crowd, we have looked at men and their words on paper, or listen to philosophies of interpretation, instead of taking the truth of God’s word as our standard and living it out. Here is what I mean. Most people that I come in contact with, in the church setting, do not believe that God moves with power anymore. Most are very skeptical. Some have even bought the lie that God is not good.
Until we see the truth in God’s word and allow it to change our thoughts (renew our minds), we will continue to miss what God is doing. Just like the “church people” in this story: knowing scripture, attending church, being upstanding people in the community, but still missing what God is wanting to do in and through us. Why? It does not fit into our agenda or our scope of God.
Another area in this story, that I believe ties into this same idea, is the blind man’s obedience. There was nothing about Jesus’ way of doing things that made sense in the natural realm. I mean, who spits on the dirt to make mud and then puts it on someone else’s face? Then Jesus tells him to go and wash in the pool. The man had a choice to make. Either he could be obedient and follow the commands of Jesus or respond by saying, “You are crazy!” Thankfully the blind man chose to be obedient, and the obedience changed his life forever. Not only was he healed physically, but he then recognized Jesus as the son of God, despite everyone around disproving.
Notice that Jesus sent him to the pool of Siloam, which means sent. I smile when I think about the cleverness of this part of the story. Has he not sent us? How often do we miss the miracles of God and the blessing of obedience because we will not go? We do not go because it does not fit our agenda. It does not fit into our God-shaped box. We deny that this could be of God, because He would never ask me to do anything out of the ordinary.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God has already set up good works beforehand. Before you step out in faith, the good works are already there. God is looking for ordinary people that would believe by faith, even when it does not make sense, walk in obedience, and see the miracles of God displayed for the world to see.
I was with a church group in Honduras last summer on a mission trip. Part of the trip was arranged for us to hike in the mountains and visit people that were hard to reach. We loaded our backpacks with rice, beans, and Spanish Bibles. At each home we made sure that each home received rice and beans, and that each person, including babies, received a Bible. One evening we were beginning to get low on Bibles because we had encountered more people that we expected. Approaching the last house, we ran completely out of Bibles. There were thirteen people in the last home, and we had no Bibles to pass out. We began to discuss what were we going to do. We wanted each person to have a copy of God’s word. We began to think in our limited mindset and come up with a plan of sending Bibles to the village later in the week with a local pastor. There was nothing wrong with this plan per se. They would eventually get the word, but we all felt like God wanted the Bibles passed out that day. I looked around and said, “If God can multiply the loaves and fish, surely he can multiply His own word. Reach into your backpacks and check one more time.” Reluctantly, everyone began to put their hands into their backpacks and we began to hear, “I found one!” “Me too!” “I have two right here!” Until, you guessed it, there was a total of 13 Bibles for that home.
Of course, this did not fit into most of our God-shaped boxes. However, we could not deny what we had seen. This event increased my faith and opened my eyes to His word—truth. God has already prepared to display His power among the nations. He is inviting ordinary people to believe and walk in them.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We are “sent.” If we are a child of God, we have been adopted into the family. The lineage of Abraham. With that adoption comes an inheritance and blessing, but also, a responsibility. As we are sent to reconcile the world back to God (2 Corinthians 5), we are also called to see the works of the Father displayed through His people. He has already prepared it—go and walk in it!